EU and India give new momentum to strategic partnership

The European Union and India held their 13th Summit on 30 March in Brussels, and took steps to deepen their political and economic cooperation. International security, migration, trade and sustainable development were top of the agenda.

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, took part in the Summit alongside India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, European Council President, Donald Tusk, and the High Representative and Vice President, Federica Mogherini. A Joint Statement was agreed, which reaffirms the commitment to strengthen the EU-India Strategic Partnership based on shared values and principles.

The leaders condemned the terrorist attacks in Brussels, and adopted a Joint Statement on Counter-Terrorism, which commits both sides to work together against extremism, stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, and curb the sources of terrorist financing and arms supply.

A common roadmap – the EU-India Agenda for Action 2020 – will guide cooperation over the next five years. This includes foreign and security policy, trade and investment, economic cooperation and people-to-people contacts. Addressing a number of global challenges, the leaders endorsed a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, which will allow the EU and India to enjoy the economic benefits of managed migration, while combating irregular migration and trafficking.

The Summit underlined the potential for greater trade. The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 13% of India’s overall trade, and also its first foreign investor. The leaders agreed to take forward discussions on the EU-India Trade and Investment Agreement, while the EU welcomed India’s readiness to establish a mechanism to facilitate the investments of all EU Member States in India.

The leaders welcomed the European Investment Bank’s support for infrastructure that is crucial to India’s environmentally sustainable, social and economic development. The EIB is providing a loan of €450 million for the construction of the first metro line in the city of Lucknow, and has signed a first tranche of €200 million with the Government of India.

On climate change and sustainable development, the Summit launched two initiatives: a new Water Partnership that promotes technological and scientific progress in water management, and a Clean Energy and Climate Partnership for renewable sources of energy.